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Commissioner's Weekly Update - October 25, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with students, faculty, and the entire school community in Danvers as they come together to heal in the aftermath of this week's tragic event.

Educator Evaluation Data – Ready for Review:

By the close of business on Oct. 28, ESE will make available the 2012-13 educator evaluation data for Race to the Top districts to review and make corrections to individual educator data. ESE will accept corrections through email by contacting Craig Weller at or Rob Curtin at The deadline to submit corrections is November 5. Once the correction process is completed, ESE will publicly release the aggregate-level educator evaluation data for schools and districts only. As a reminder, state law prohibits the public release of any individual educator's evaluation data, except for superintendents.

Data are located under the "Data for Review" dropbox on the Security Portal at The application can be accessed with a username, password, and the SIMS Data User role. Please note that in instances where cells are populated with ***, ESE has suppressed data due to the number of staff evaluated (fewer than 6) or all staff evaluated in the group received the same rating. For general questions about educator evaluation, please contact

Board Recap:

At its October 22 meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education heard an update on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). At its November 19 meeting, the Board will vote on a two-year transition plan proposed by Commissioner Chester. The Board also heard updates on the Commonwealth's science curriculum standards, the high school equivalency credential, and schools under consideration for a Level 5 designation. The Board voted on a charter school matter and heard an update on the probation of Spirit of Knowledge Charter School in Worcester, and held an initial discussion on the Fiscal Year 2015 budget recommendation process.

Update on PARCC Field Test:

Last month, ESE notified superintendents of schools districts in which the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) selected one or more schools to participate in this spring's field test. The response rate was incredible as superintendents confirmed the participation of 85 percent of those schools selected. In some instances, though, ESE excused schools from participating due to extraordinary circumstances. This necessitates our finding replacement schools to round out our state sample of participating schools.

Next week, ESE will notify superintendents of any schools in their districts newly identified to take part in the field test. This may include schools in districts that PARCC did not choose during the first round of sampling. Pearson, the testing contractor for the field test, will then email sampled districts by Nov. 8 to provide additional details about the field test, including the names of any replacement schools selected to participate in the field test. If you have any questions, please contact ESE at

SIG Funds – Intent to Apply for Waiver:

Next month, ESE will submit a new application for federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds to help serve the Commonwealth's persistently lowest achieving schools. ESE intends to apply for a waiver of certain SIG requirements. We have posted our notice of intent to apply for a waiver at If you wish to submit comments, please do so by sending an email to by November 7.

Update on Innovation Schools:

ESE has released the Innovation Schools Planning Grant application for Fiscal Year 2014. This one-time state grant will support the planning process for developing and establishing new and conversion innovation schools for implementation in September 2014. The application is online at ESE will host a technical assistance webinar on November 14, 2013 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. To register, go to

ESE will host an information session on innovation schools to provide the opportunity for interested parties to learn about innovation schools, the authorization process, and competitive funding opportunities that support the development and implementation of these schools. The session will take place on November 21, 2013 from 4-6 p.m. at ESE (75 Pleasant Street, Malden). To register, go to

If you are interested in visiting existing innovation schools, ESE has established a calendar of visits for this year, beginning with one to Worcester Technical High School on November 4. To register for a visit, go to

Massachusetts to Join Network for Transforming Educator Preparation:

This week, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced that it has chosen Massachusetts as one of seven states to participate in a two-year pilot focused on transforming educator preparation and entry systems into the profession. The Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP) will support the seven states in implementing recommendations from a Dec. 2012 CCSSO report around three key policy areas – licensure, program approval, and analyzing and reporting information to improve preparation programs. For more info, go to As a participating state, we can lend additional momentum to the major initiatives we have underway already across the Commonwealth.

School Visits:

This week, Commissioner Chester visited the John Avery Parker Elementary School in New Bedford.

For Your Info:

  • Correction – Student Physical Exams: In the Oct. 18 Weekly Update, we provided information on amendments to state regulations on the physical examination of school children adopted by the Public Health Council. The changes include elimination of a requirement for schools to mail parents/guardians a report of each student's Body Mass Index (BMI) report. Additional changes to provide increased confidentiality of personal health information and prevent any unintended consequences were also made. The requirement continues that schools collect height and weight and to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements for students in grades 1, 4, 7, and 10 and report the aggregate data to the Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH). Schools must continue to provide parents with pre-notification of screenings.
  • SchoolSpeedTest Month – Reminder: Over 60 percent of districts have already participated in this month's SchoolSpeedTest. Through Oct. 31, districts may participate by logging onto from a school computer. For more info, see the Sept. 27 Weekly Update.
  • Oct. 30 Webex on Common Core: The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a webex on October 30 where two teachers, including one from Massachusetts, will discuss strategies for teaching the Common Core and highlight helpful resources to facilitate classroom instruction and professional learning. The Massachusetts teacher is Darren Burris from Boston Collegiate Charter School. To register for the webex, go to

Subscriber Information: Superintendents, principals, and charter school leaders will receive the update automatically. For others wishing to subscribe, send an email to with the following information in the body of the email: subscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: subscribe ESEUpdate John Smith) To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with the following information in the body: unsubscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: unsubscribe ESEUpdate John Smith)

Last Updated: October 28, 2013
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